The Punjab government has decided to impose a complete lockdown in some areas of Lahore due to rising coronavirus cases being reported from the provincial capital, confirmed Health Minister Yasmin Rashid on Monday.
“Many areas of Lahore will be shut down 12am onwards from tomorrow,” said the minister during a press conference. She added that the areas that will experience a complete lockdown include Shahdra, Shad Bagh, Mazang, Harbanspura, Old Lahore, Nishtar Ground, Cantt.
Meanwhile, some areas in Gulberg will also be closed completely and some societies in Lahore’s Iqbal Town as well.
“Food stores and pharmacies will remain open in these areas,” clarified the minister, adding that the areas will undergo a complete lockdown for at least two weeks. She added that these areas will be reopened after t the situation is assessed.
Dr Rashid once again urged people to follow the government’s announced standard operating procedures to stop the spread of the virus. She added that the virus can be stemmed by 50% just by wearing a mask.
Punjab and Sindh remain the worst affected provinces of the country with Punjab reporting over 54,000 cases on Monday.
In Punjab, Lahore is the worst affected province and has reported over 27,000 cases and is the second worst affected city after Karachi.
Last week, Health Minister Yasmin Rashid had hinted that that the provincial government will impose a lockdown in areas with higher number of coronavirus cases to stem the spread of the disease.
The provincial health minister in the same press conference had warned that the number of cases will rise. The minister at the time had said that the final decision regarding the lockdown was to be taken by the cabinet committee.
The move also comes in the backdrop of the World Health Organisation recommending enforcing a strict two-week lockdown in Punjab as the number of coronavirus cases continued to grow in the province.
The organisation said during the lockdown, the country was reporting 1,000 cases per day. However, this number increased after the federal government eased the lockdown in the country. “SOPs need to be strictly enforced to stem the spread of the virus,” the letter said.
WHO recommended that for any government that wants to start lifting restrictions, the following six conditions must be met:
- Disease transmission is under control
- Health system can “detect, test, isolate and treat every case and trace every contact”
- Hot spot risks are minimized in vulnerable places, such as nursing homes
- Schools, workplaces and other essential places have established preventive measures
- The risk of importing new cases “can be managed”
- Communities are fully educated, engaged and empowered to live under a new normal